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Italian Wines Offer Something for Everyone

Red, white, collectible or bargain - Italy has it all

A glass of Barbaresco - one of Piedemont's famous wines.
A glass of Barbaresco - one of Piedemont's famous wines.

by Wine Taster
published: 03 Jun 2009
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Italian wines offer excellent variety at every price point. This highly productive country has 300 different recognized geographical locations for wine making. Vineyards can be found all over, from lush hillsides to breathtaking coastlines.

Italy makes virtually every type of wine - still, sparkling and dessert. Its boutique and mass producers put out expensive and inexpensive wines, so there's something for everyone.

If you're just getting into Italian wines, start with lesser-known varietals from well-established regions or famous varietals from neighboring regions. They will cost less and you'll more than likely find something you enjoy. Piedmont is best known for Barolo and Barbaresco, among others. Tuscany is most popular for Chianti, but it actually cultivates a large variety of grapes, with Sangiovese - the grape used in Chianti - as the best known.

The wines of Piedmont and Tuscany are famous all over the world, and they generally pair well with heavy foods such as roasted meats and risottos. Seafood lovers should explore what coastal areas such as Sardinia, parts of Sicily and Friuli-Venezia Giulia have to offer. When possible, do what the natives do and choose a wine from the same region as the dish you're eating.

The amazing variety and quantity of Italian wines on the market can make selecting a bottle tricky. Consider visiting a nice Italian restaurant to check out the wine list. Hit up the sommelier for a dinnertime suggestion and - if s/he appears amenable to it - some value-minded recommendations for the next time you're standing in a grocery aisle, trying to figure out what to bring home.

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